I’ve always been torn on New Year’s resolutions. On one hand, I find it valuable to use the end of the year to evaluate where you are and how you want to change. On the other hand, most New Year’s resolutions tend to be goals in name only (I’m one of the schlubs that gets caught up in that). In fact, statistics say that 92% of those who make New Year’s resolutions don’t actually achieve them.
I did some goals last year and I actually reached some of them, but my problem was this:
- Some were unattainable (i.e. Max out my Roth IRA, be debt-free).
- I evaluated how I was doing only a few times throughout the year, the first time being August or September.
- Some weren’t specific (i.e. ride my bike more, set better goals).
I know you’re super impressed with some of those, especially the “set better goals” one 🙂
So in an effort to be part of the 8% this time around, I put a little more thought into what I want to accomplish this year at the risk of embarrassing myself in front of the world (but really only the 50 people that read my blog). I tend to set too many goals, so I’m sticking with only 8 for the year. Additionally, I’ve tried to make each of them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
So here goes, my goals for 2015.
I’ve been unsure about setting financial goals this year, mainly because my freelancing income remains volatile and there are a lot of unknown variables with our first child coming next month. Even so, we decided on two together:
- Pay off our car loan and hospital bills. We owe about $2,800 left on the car, so that will take an additional $150/month on top of what we’re paying now to get there. We owe about $700 for an August ER visit, which will be finished by October, and we have a $3,000 flex spending account through my work to help with the delivery-related stuff.
- Start saving for a down payment. For a long time I’ve been totally fine renting, but we’ve moved around so much in the past four years that we want to settle down somewhere, and having a home is part of that plan. We’re not going to start saving for a down payment until we feel like we’re in a good position to do so, but the plan is to start at some point this year. The important thing for me is that we get it written down.
I’ve had a weird mixture of impatience and apathy about my career/freelancing situation lately, so I need something to keep me facing the right direction:
- Promotion by March. I’ve been in my position at work long enough to be eligible for a promotion, but after struggling so much to get a good job for my first year after graduation, even the idea of applying and interviewing for another job gives me anxiety. Finding something before the end of the first quarter of the year should be a good motivator without making it too stressful. I also want to start looking into a career in content management.
- Earn $35,000 from my blog/freelancing. By my final calculation, I earned $25,158.71 in 2014 from my blog and freelancing. With the amount of time it took me to do that combined with making sure I’m spending the amount of time I want to with our new baby, an extra $10,000 this year is a tall order. It’s doable, though, and will make me stretch.
- Lose 45 lbs. I weighed a buck fifty in high school, and weighed about 170 when my wife and I got married in 2010. I gained 25-30 lbs. in 2014 alone and the last few times I’ve checked, I’ve been hovering between 205 and 210. I’m not expecting to get back down to my high school weight, but I’d like to reach at least 165 lbs. by the end of the year, which will be just a little under 1 lb. a week. It will simply be a matter of actually taking the time to exercise regularly and to get rid of most of the sugar and processed crap that are killing me. I’ve already got a friend who will act as an accountability partner for me. Oh, and don’t worry. I won’t be sharing any “Before” pictures. To spare the children.
- Read 20 books. There are few things in this life that I love more than reading, but with the busyness of life and competing interests, I only get small bursts here and there (like this past Monday when I started a book at 9 p.m. and finished at 3 a.m.). I want to keep a steady flow of reading not only because it’s my favorite pastime, but also because the more you read, the better you write. Some of the books I plan on reading are Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers,” “The Element” by Sir Ken Robinson, and “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk.
- Write 5 short stories. Fiction is and always will be my first love, and I’d love to be a fiction writer someday. Actually doing it, though, is daunting. So rather than continuing to push it off, I want to try my hand at five original short stories this year. I’ve got to start somewhere, right?
So there you have it, my goals for this year. This year, though, I’m going to also add accountability into the mix, so I’ll follow up with y’all once a quarter to give you an update (I guess this is more for me than you, but hopefully it will show that being part of the 8% is possible for even the most undisciplined).
What are your goals for 2015? How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions in general?